Over the years, you discover what sets people off and what doesn’t. Where their soft spot is, where their vulnerabilities lie, who they protect and why, who are the peacekeepers and who are the instigators. But most will either stay quiet and dwell on the issue at hand letting them eat themselves up inside or defend their position with gusto, bells and whistles… but there is someone in between.
There is someone who has the courage to ask questions with a level head, understand that there are two sides to a story, that some things do come out wrong and unintentional and learn to forgive. They have the maturity to sit face to face with the person they have an issue with and confront the problem at hand with poise, love and composure.
So how do we gain the skills of stating your argument without being defensive? Is it something that we learn through observation, through education or through being comfortable with who we are? Do we know the people that we love so well, that we know how to approach them with a cool calming attitude, knowing that that is the way they will answer with honesty and integrity? Or can these types of confrontations only be done with certain people – as some people with bellow out an argument if you told them that they had a hair out of place? Who knows…
I’m no psychologist, nor have I studied psychology, but I’m sure there is a certain button in all of us that makes us take a step back and start listening objectively, not defensively.
How do we teach our children this skill? With love and acceptance? By telling the truth, as the truth shall set you free? To explain the significance of an apology – where you apologise only if you realise that you made a mistake, are prepared not to make the same mistake again and learn from the event?
There has to be a level of trust in it all. If you’ve been betrayed by someone who has lied to you in the past, made judgement calls on your life or even did something against your foundations, you’re most likely going to hide behind your defences if they bring up an argumentative situation. But if you have learnt to trust that person, your natural instinct is to listen objectively. It’s human nature, isn’t it?
So maybe, part of the forgiving process is to not yell and scream at each other, but listen reflectively. It may save some relationships, but then again, if you’re coming up against the same attacking stand-off week after week, month after month, year after year, is the relationship worth saving? If that other person doesn’t have the respect for you to take that step back and listen objectively, then maybe it’s not… You’ve tried and given it your best shot, but they aren’t willing to forgive. You need to let go and move on… Now, that’s another lesson to teach our children…